Due to the nature of their work, first responders (e.g., firefighters, paramedics, public safety officers) are uniquely susceptible to PTSD. PTSD involves exposure to psychological trauma, and first responders experience such trauma on a regular ongoing basis over the course of their careers. While not every first responder will develop PTSD, it is important that all first responders and their loved ones recognize its symptoms. It is all too easy for the warning signs to go unrecognized — I speak from experience.
Left untreated, PTSD poses great risk. Research shows the suicide rate of individuals who suffer from PTSD is far greater than that of the general population. Put simply, promoting awareness and treatment-seeking for PTSD saves lives.
This article was originally published in The Winnipeg Free Press, July 2016. You can find it online here or download it here.